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Topic "Hector attempt and Presidents (1 of 7)" started by Kerry Vizbar on Sep-17-2008
Topic "The Presidents (1 of 17)" started by Vern Dewit on Jul-27-2008

Topic: The Presidents (1 of 17)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Sunday, July 27, 2008 05:01 PM

I climbed The President and Vice President with Wietse, Raff and Keith early on Saturday morning (July 26th). Conditions on the glacier were pretty good with bare ice to ankle deep snow. Conditions on the upper mountains were generally very good with some post holing, especially on the way down but nothing too bad. Surprisingly we were only one of two parties on these mountains on a perfect morning.

We met Tom Wolfe (guide and MCR web master) guiding two clients early on the way in before hitting the glacier. They took a climber's right approach while we went to the left. We continued to meet each other throughout the day at various points. Tom mentioned that the glacier was looking quite different than he was used to at this time of the year. We crossed the schrund far on climbers right.

Alpine glow early on Saturday morning:


Other party is behind us:


The schrund is pretty massive:


Don't slip here!


We summitted the President first, leaving the rope at the col.

Coming up the President with the Vice President in the background:


Awesome views off the summit:


Raff being a crazy Pol again... ;-)


Next was the descent back to the col (we met Tom and his clients again on the descent) before crossing the col and climbing the Vice President.

Using snow to make the climb a bit easier:


Look very closely and you'll see Tom and his clients descending the upper snow slope on The President:


We had great views from the summit of Vice President too. We thought they were just as good as from the President:


Looking towards the Wapta Icefields:


Preparing to descend the glacier:


Kiwetinok, Pollinger, McArthur and Isolated from the descent:


Lower glacier is bare:


One last look as the clouds move in:


A fantastic outing on two great looking peaks. The views were definitely some of the best I've had - Yoho never lets me down! It also thunder stormed on the way out so our 04:00 wake up time was a great idea. We were around 8 hours round trip with lots of time on the summits and exploring different features on the glacier. Raff and Keith each found a leg-biter (small, covered crevasse) but most of the big cracks were open and obvious.

More pictures at http://verndewit.com/p350132831.

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com
http://verndewit.com/

Topic: The Presidents (2 of 17)
Author: Kevin Barton
Date: Monday, July 28, 2008 09:09 AM


Gentleman

Great job! Congrats on a couple of fine summits. The shrund on that route is always very spectacular.

Looks like you got down before the big thunderstorms.

We had mostly sunny conditions on Saturday, but we had a very short summit stay on Bourgeau when the dark skies and lighting came rolling in.

Great work boys!

Kevin




Topic: The Presidents (3 of 17)
Author: Bill Kerr
Date: Monday, July 28, 2008 09:25 AM

Well done. Good call on the early start.

That schrund is much bigger than I remember although the bypass on the right looks easy enough.

bill.kerr@shaw.ca
http://www.billkerr.ca

Topic: The Presidents (4 of 17)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Monday, July 28, 2008 09:47 AM

Thanks guys - it was a blast. The 'schrund is easily bypassed for now but any big heat wave or partial collapse and it would be a bugger to get across.

We were wondering if you were OK on Bourgeau Barton!

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com
http://verndewit.com/

Topic: The Presidents (5 of 17)
Author: Mike Fisher
Date: Monday, July 28, 2008 11:35 AM

Great trip and shots Vern. Can't wait to get up there myself.

Topic: The Presidents (6 of 17)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Monday, July 28, 2008 07:13 PM

I climbed the Presidents back in 2000. The 'schrund was big then, but it's a LOT bigger now. I had heard that the 'schrund was growing quite quickly every year. I would guess in about 5 years, given the same rate of natural climate warming ;-) that the 'schrund will be difficult even in June. Pretty soon, it will be a winter-only climb.


Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: The Presidents (7 of 17)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Monday, July 28, 2008 07:38 PM

Funny you say that Dave, because Tom was a bit disturbed that one of his buddies hucked off a cornice in April, right on top of the biggest hole in the 'schrund! Thank goodness for a big snow year I guess!

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com
http://verndewit.com/

Topic: The Presidents (8 of 17)
Author: Antri Zhu
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2008 09:55 AM

Nice pictures. I wanted to do this last year ever since a friend told me it was easy. After looking at the pictures, I think it looks harder than he described.

Topic: The Presidents (9 of 17)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2008 09:59 AM

Hey Antri,

It's not hard by Alpine climbing standards. I think hard core alpinists would be tempted to solo this route.

The main thing is to respect it enough to rope up on the glacier and go prepared (i.e. know crevasse rescue basics) - it's really quite non-technical with only moderate scrambling from the col.

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com
http://verndewit.com/

Topic: The Presidents (10 of 17)
Author: Wietse Bylsma
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2008 07:30 PM

Posted my pictures of the Presidents at http://canada4u.zenfolio.com/p1007598758

Wietse Bylsma
http://canada4u.zenfolio.com

Topic: The Presidents (11 of 17)
Author: Bill Kerr
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2008 09:08 PM

Great pictures - felt like I was back there.

Did anybody take a telephoto of Balfour?

bill.kerr@shaw.ca
http://www.billkerr.ca

Topic: The Presidents (12 of 17)
Author: Mountain Ninja
Date: Friday, August 01, 2008 01:47 PM

Here`s a telephoto of Mt. Balfour for you, Bill.



Topic: The Presidents (13 of 17)
Author: Bill Kerr
Date: Friday, August 01, 2008 02:29 PM

thanks Raff


bill.kerr@shaw.ca
http://www.billkerr.ca

Topic: The Presidents (14 of 17)
Author: Parry Loeffler
Date: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 06:58 PM

Ya, the Presidents are pretty straight-forward, except maybe the 'schrund, but I still can't imagine anyone soloing any glacial route like that with the massive... dark... cold abyss lurking below... I mean, I know it happens, but wow...

Topic: The Presidents (15 of 17)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 08:57 PM

On 8/6/2008 6:58:00 PM, Parry Loeffler wrote:
>Ya, the Presidents are pretty
>straight-forward, except maybe
>the 'schrund, but I still
>can't imagine anyone soloing
>any glacial route like that
>with the massive... dark...
>cold abyss lurking below... I
>mean, I know it happens, but
>wow...

Rumor has it that some guy was seen walking on the Athabasca glacier with two dogs so it definitely happens more than you think! I guess if you walk on enough glaciers without an incident you could get a little over-confident.


Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com
http://verndewit.com/

Topic: The Presidents (16 of 17)
Author: Parry Loeffler
Date: Friday, August 08, 2008 08:27 AM

>Rumor has it that some guy was seen
>walking on the Athabasca glacier with
>two dogs so it definitely happens more
>than you think! I guess if you walk on
>enough glaciers without an incident you
>could get a little over-confident.

Ya, true enough, Vern. I've seen that type of stuff too. When we were geared up and reviewing crevasse rescue on the Athabasca, tourists saw that we were beyond the roped-off area and began to cross over as well to frolic on the snow and ice. We had to point out our harnesses and rope to convince them to get the 'ell off.

Anyhow... apparently there was another crevasse death in the Selkirks just recently.

I think once we all punch through the first time, hopefully only to our waist, and have our frantic legs waving around in nothing but thin air, we gain a rather unshakable respect for the glaciers and over confidence is cured for some time to come :-)

Parry

Topic: The Presidents (17 of 17)
Author: Bill Kerr
Date: Friday, August 08, 2008 08:50 AM

There is a guy in the ACC who was walking on the Saskatchewan glacier in summer in cowboy boots(young inexperienced) and fell into a tunnel/tube of rushing meltwater and he came out .5 km down at the toe of the glacier. Can't remember the name. Another guy I know fell into a huge house sized crevass on a bright sunny day in the bugs. He said he was hanging there 15 feet below this little 3 foot hole he fell through and it was like being suspended in a huge blue pool.
Either of those experiences would change your attitude on soloing glaciers.


bill.kerr@shaw.ca
http://www.billkerr.ca

Topic: Hector attempt and Presidents (1 of 7)
Author: Kerry Vizbar
Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 11:08 PM

As luck would have it, a long planned few days off to do some mountaineering and scrambling turned out to be some of the best of the season. On Friday night, we headed out to Mosquito Creek to prepare an attack on Mount Hector. Snowfall greeted us as we turned up Hwy 93 at Lake Louise.

9 of us made a headlamp start on Saturday morning - on the trail just before 5 AM. The previous night's snow made everything slippery - especially roots and rocks. We gained the upper cirque below Little Hector sometime around sunrise, which was gorgeous. The sun came over the front ranges and warmed us up quickly. The Hector Glacier looked inviting for skis with a blanket of fresh snow. There was 40 cm's of snow average on the lower glacier and after breaking trail for what seemed like a long time my legs were burning and begged someone else to take over. A few leader shuffles and many other breaks brought us through a gauntlet of gaping holes and up a steep slope on the east side of the glacier. The other rope team decided to have a break as they were wearing out and getting quite cold at this point, as the slow pace (for anyone NOT leading) and wind made things very unpleasant. Much more like a winter ascent. 5 of us continued up through 1.5 metre deep snow to the summit block where we were greeted with a steep, short gully with powder snow on top of verglas waiting for us. There were several pitons in this area which we used on the way down for a bit of comfort. Upon gaining the upper section, the howling wind and already frozen toes made it unbearable. Keith checked out one possible route to the summit, ended in a drop off, and Dustin suggested we head back. So, we did. Roughly 5 metres from the summit, which we agreed afterwards is absurd. I think I need to learn how to ski to do this one again. How does one gain the lower headwall (by the waterfall) in the winter?

Sunday, Keith, Sebastian and I hiked into SM Hut on a beautiful evening. Charlie Locke was heading back out of the hut and I'm sure the person who he'd been hiking with there was one of the Who's Who of Canadian alpinism (Al someone - didn't get his last name). Monday awoke to a splendid full moon and clear sky to ascend The Presidents. The lower glacier was bare with a dusting of snow in spots but became deeper about halfway up. Keith broke through a weak bridge into a narrow but deep slot just after one of our breaks. The schrund was still massive, and easily bypassed by snowbridge on the right. We short roped to both summits; President first and VP after lunch. In agreement with others, the view from the VP is indeed better.

After that, it was back to Lake Louise for camping and a rest day of Panorama Ridge on Tuesday and Temple on Wednesday, all under cloudless conditions.

http://picasaweb.google.com/kerryv/20080913MountHectorAttempt
http://picasaweb.google.com/kerryv/20080915ThePresidents

Topic: Hector attempt and Presidents (2 of 7)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008 08:52 AM

Great job of peak bagging Kerry! You're getting out a lot this summer despite less-then-perfect weather. Saw your name yesterday in a peak much less traveled than most (details later).

To gain the headwall in the winter on Hector is the biggest challenge of skiing that peak I think. Skis go on your back and you hump it up a very large avi slope. You need good snow conditions.

I've heard of several people being turned back right at the summit block. I guess it depends on conditions whether it's basically a scramble or a full-on alpine climb (I mean the summit block, obviously the glacier is alpine). Great pictures too.

I've often wondered if traversing from Little Hector to Hector would be fun. The ridge would go, I'm reasonably sure of this because Wietse and I ran into some guy who claimed he's done it a few times.

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com
http://verndewit.com/

Topic: Hector attempt and Presidents (3 of 7)
Author: Jp S
Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008 05:33 PM

I hate to say it but I think you know it -you guys were pretty much at the summit. My recollection was that the first little rockband near the summit was the hardest - and it looks like you were past it.

A lesson I relearned this summer � is to have at least two people check out something blocking your way. A second opinion always helps. But I must say I�ve turned around before just because it has been miserable and cold � and I wasn�t having anything resembling �fun� anymore.

You will get it next time.

Mt. Hector was one of my first ski ascents. Ski that and it will convince you to take up ski mountaineering!

At the first rock band (just after the trees), the waterfall gully is usually filled with snow and you can usually ski (or walk) straight up it.

jp

Topic: Hector attempt and Presidents (4 of 7)
Author: Kerry Vizbar
Date: Friday, September 19, 2008 05:31 AM

Thanks guys...it was certainly a nice day, overall.

We did ponder that first rockband (where we found the pitons) for about 15 minutes, considered turning around there, then Dustin went up to the last snowfield and the rest of us followed. I was 4th in line and my GPS track shows I got to 3389 metres. Keith was first, and went up to a small ledge overlooking a steep drop on the south face, but there was one more ledge higher than him (likely the summit). I'd imagine he got to 3392-3393 metres. The summit elev on the map shows 3394 metres. :-)

Can't agree more about how this would get someone hooked on ski mountaineering. All that powder on the glacier was tempting. I went to the sale at Ski Cellar last night to buy a downhill setup, so I'll be forcing myself to learn this year and hopefully get to a level where I can start doing the backcountry stuff by spring.

Topic: Hector attempt and Presidents (5 of 7)
Author: Ferenc Jacso
Date: Friday, September 19, 2008 11:30 AM

I'm glad some of us made good use of this fantastic late season. Awesome peaks, weather and views! September remains my favourite month.

Regarding Hector, I would gladly trade an almost summit in picture perfect weather with a true summit in crappy weather. I wouldn't bother going back either it can't get any better than this trip.

That said, let me know if interested in an October attempt, I need rope partners. I have to check it out for myself after this report... yeah, if weather allows...

Topic: Hector attempt and Presidents (6 of 7)
Author: Kerry Vizbar
Date: Sunday, September 21, 2008 10:39 AM

Ferenc, might take you up on that...drop me a note sometime if you want to go up. It's like unfinished business for me.

Topic: Hector attempt and Presidents (7 of 7)
Author: David Mulligan
Date: Monday, October 20, 2008 12:42 PM

Agreed, don't waste time and effort walking up Hector, ski it. In winter the crevasses are mostly filled in, so you can usually enjoy 1500m unroped descent. I've always walked up and down the headwall with skis on my pack, though some have skied it both ways. Its short and a grunt carrying skis, but not technically difficult. Crampons are sometimes useful for the summit block. Have fun.